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ETEC Meeting: Glenn Jacobs, Knox County Mayor
January 18 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am
[Taken from Glenn Jacobs for Mayor website] The American Dream is alive and well. I’m living proof. Where else but America could a farm boy from rural Missouri achieve success in, of all things, the world of professional wrestling?
When I was a kid, I always dreamed of being a professional athlete. But growing up, I thought that was all it would ever be… a dream. My dad spent twenty-one years in the military, and served in both Korea and Vietnam. Dad’s military service took him all over the world. In fact, I was born on a U.S. Air Force base in Spain! My mom was a homemaker and the glue that kept our family together. My sister was the academic genius who would become a rocket scientist. That’s not a joke. She worked at NASA. My brother was the guy who could fix anything that had moving parts. And I was the family athlete. At least that’s what I wanted to be.
For most of my youth, I was awkward and gangly. During high school, my body finally caught up with me and I excelled in basketball, eventually earning an athletic scholarship to Truman State University where I played both basketball and football. It looked like I had a real shot to play in the NFL, but a knee injury shattered that dream.
But as so often happens in life, that injury turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. After graduating with a degree in English, I took a job at a group home for folks with special needs, but I also dabbled in professional wrestling. Eventually, I decided to pursue wrestling as a serious career. The first few years were pretty rough. I would drive 200 or 300 hundred miles and usually not even earn enough to pay for gas. More often than not, I’d sleep on a colleague’s couch. When I did get a hotel room, I’d split it with two or three other guys to save money.
“Who would have thought that all this could happen to a guy like me? Well, it could only happen in America.”
But despite all the bumps, bruises, and unprofitable road trips, I knew that I had what it took to excel in my profession. All I needed was a break. I got that break when I signed with WWE. The rest is history. I have performed in all 50 states and over 40 countries. Millions of people have watched me perform live. Millions more have watched on TV. I have been honored to work with some of the greatest entertainers on the planet. Who would have thought that all this could happen to a guy like me? Well, it could only happen in America.
In 1995, my travels took me to East Tennessee. I had already fallen in love with the area when a friend introduced me to the most remarkable woman, my wife Crystal. She was a single mom, raising two daughters while working three jobs AND putting herself through graduate school. Crystal is the most genuine and caring person that I have ever met. She also has a core of tempered steel and is the strongest person I know.
My daughters, Devan and Arista, are the pride of my life. Both of them are nurses who have recently earned their BSN degrees. Devan is studying to be a Physician’s Assistant. Arista is working on her MBA in health care administration. I’ve also learned that the best thing about growing older is grandkids. I have two—a granddaughter and a grandson.
Living here has given me the opportunity to do some truly rewarding things. I am honored to serve on the advisory council at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital as well as the board of the Halls/Powell Boys and Girls Club. My business, Jacobs Insurance Associates, is the local champion of the Kindness Revolution, a national anti-bullying initiative. My wife, Crystal, and I founded Kane’s Crusaders, a non-profit organization with the mission of bringing joy to the chronically ill teenagers of East Tennessee.
Because I travel so much with WWE, we could live pretty much anywhere in the country that we wanted, but my family and I live here because we love it here. Most of all, we love the people. Folks here are kind and friendly, and possess a quality that is lacking in many other places… loads of common sense.
We understand that hard work, ability, and the willingness to succeed should be rewarded and encouraged. We understand that people should enjoy the fruits of their labor, not see their efforts wiped out by high taxes. We understand that the free enterprise system—the greatest wealth producing machine the world has ever known—shouldn’t be crippled by over-regulation, but it should be unleashed so that the American Dream is available to everyone.
“I believe that we can make Knox County an example to America of what happens when all of us work together to make our communities stronger, our schools better, and our economy more powerful.” I am a product of that Dream. My life is blessed beyond measure because my parents and their parents before them made sure that I could have the opportunity to build the life that I enjoy. I believe that we have the same responsibility to our children and our grandchildren. That starts with us and it starts right here in Knox County.
President Reagan used to depict America as the Shining City on the Hill, an example to the rest of the world of what freedom looks like. I believe that we can make Knox County an example to America of what happens when all of us work together to make our communities stronger, our schools better, and our economy more powerful.
Together, we can light the way to a very bright future.